Understanding Body Language in Nonverbal Communication
Communication is a critical workplace skill. Whether it’s a boardroom meeting or a sales pitch, people don’t just pay attention…
October 8, 2020 | 3 mins read
Communication is a critical workplace skill. Whether it’s a boardroom meeting or a sales pitch, people don’t just pay attention to what you’re saying.
They also notice other nonverbal cues such as your smile, facial expressions, eye contact, gestures and posture.
In other words, they also listen to what your body language is saying.
They say body language is more than 50% of communication.
What exactly is the meaning of body language? Body language involves a host of nonverbal cues or signs such as body movements, facial expressions, tone of voice and gestures in communication.
Reading these signs is an important part of communication. The importance of body language is that it assists us in understanding and decoding what the person is saying. Body language also helps interpret other peoples’ moods and emotions.
Apart from this, it enhances our conscious understanding of people’s reactions to what we say and how we say it.
According to a 1981 study by body language expert Albert Mehrabian, words, body language and tone of voice account for 7%, 55% and 38% of effective communication.
In other words, we as human beings pay more than 90% attention to body language and tone of the voice more than the actual words. This study shows you how nonverbal communication is deeply rooted in the brain and tells you about the importance of body language in communication.
With only 7% of our attention on verbal communication, it’s important to use gestures, facial expressions and other nonverbal cues carefully to communicate.
Now that we have discussed the meaning of body language, let us look at the importance of body language in communication. Imagine a band of chimpanzees in a forest. Though they can’t speak, they use nonverbal cues and body language as major modes of communicating.
Similarly, human beings also use body language in communication along with verbal communication. In the business world, your body language illustrates your confidence and commitment in more ways than you realize.
The importance of body language lies in the manner in which it impacts your personal brand. Whether it’s a job interview, first date or even an average day in one’s life as an employee, how one presents them is important. Positive body language suggests that one is approachable, attentive and open to new ideas and suggestions.
The use of body language in communication is often unconscious. If a person is yawning in the meeting room or tapping their fingers on the table while the boss is talking about the monthly sales goals, chances are that they will be perceived as disinterested and stressed. Improving your posture will give the impression that a person is interested and focused.
The importance of body language is not only limited to formal communication. Changing any negative nonverbal cues will increase your self-confidence and self-esteem. Once you see people responding positively to you as a friend, employee, co-worker or leader, your internal motivation will increase as well.
The importance of body language in communication is evident in public speaking. With all eyes on one person, the speaker is under pressure to be mindful of what they are saying and how they are saying it.
Another important nonverbal business transaction is the handshake. Political and business leaders seal deals with a handshake. A strong handshake suggests confidence and a limp handshake implies the person is disinterested.
Smiling and maintaining eye contact is also important while shaking hands. This shows that you have courage and confidence.
Be mindful but don’t stress about body language in communication. If you have a habit of cracking your knuckles or rubbing the eyes, being aware and consciously replacing it with a positive body movement will do the trick.
Harappa Education offers a course called Building Presence in which you can learn all about the importance of body language. The course also helps you in decoding, understanding and using nonverbal cues for building a brand. Sign up for the course to understand all about body language in communication and build your presence at work.
Explore our Harappa Diaries section to know more about topics & skills related to the Communicate habit such as Interpersonal Skills, What is Communication, Process of Communication, What is Report Writing, Writing Skills and Self Introduction.